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Do you get called “honey” or “sweetie” by strangers?
Old 01-22-2019, 11:27 AM   #1
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Do you get called “honey” or “sweetie” by strangers?

Recently DH and I have been called various terms of endearment by waiters, waitresses, or retail workers. We are 58 and 59 and while we don’t look 40, neither of us looks a lot older than our ages. It feels like all of the sudden, people are treating us like we’re their grandparents, and it bugs me. It feels very patronizing.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how do you handle it? So far I’ve ignored it except for at one restaurant where we are regulars and know the manager. I would love some suggestions on a witty response that wouldn’t be too rude but would get the point across.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
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It happens more in the South than anywhere. I have no issue with this and it’s not age related as I think there’s a resurgence of this kind of talk especially in restaurants.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:31 AM   #3
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In my part of the country, that is customary. Also sometimes, " dahlin' ". It's just being nice plus if the person is a waitress, she is also fishing for a bigger tip.

I don't mind it at all. It's sort of like the way people in some parts of the country are taught to call everyone "Sir" or "Ma'am". They are just making an effort to be polite and courteous.

Customs differ in different parts of the country, and even more so in different countries of the world which is something to be aware of especially if/when traveling. This is part of what people mean when they say that travel is broadening; it broadens one's mind about different customs like this. The "honey" "sweetie" thing is something people do encounter in some places that may differ from what they grew up with. Usually nothing bad is meant by it at all.

As for it happening all of a sudden, I think that in recent years, with cheaper airfare available, people are moving more around the country maybe? I have no idea but maybe that's why, or maybe it's just who you are happening to encounter.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:33 AM   #4
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It doesn't bother me at all , and I don't think people are being patronizing. I've heard it since I was very young, so it's not age related.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:34 AM   #5
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yes, and it doesn't bother me at all.

Years ago, at the gym, a young man called me "sir"...I was taken aback. A few years later, like maybe 10, he walked into my dental office as a new patient. A super nice guy, good friends with some good friends of mine, and I told him the story, that he was the first one to call me "sir" in such a situation. He got a big kick out of it.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:34 AM   #6
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All the time,and usually by women much younger than my 58. I live in the South, though, and it’s as much a part of the vernacular as me addressing every one I encounter in those same situations as “ma’am” or “sir”
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:35 AM   #7
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I'm a tall scary looking man. Doesn't happen to me.

Nowadays a lawsuit gets filed if it happens to some women.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:36 AM   #8
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In my part of the country, that is customary. Also sometimes, " dahlin' ". It's just being nice plus if the person is a waitress, she is also fishing for a bigger tip.

I don't mind it at all. It's sort of like the way people in some parts of the country are taught to call everyone "Sir" or "Ma'am". They are just making an effort to be polite and courteous.

Customs differ in different parts of the country, and even more so in different countries of the world. This "honey" "sweetie" thing is something people do encounter that may differ from the way things are in other regions.
+1. I grew up in the Atlanta area and all the waitress say darlin', honey. It is just their way of being polite. Don't take offense to it. They also say yes mam and no mam, yes sir and no sir in the South. When I moved to the Seattle area 22 years ago, people get angry when you say yes mam, no mam etc. This is how the people are raised in the South. Consider them using their manners. That is what they are doing.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:37 AM   #9
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Recently DH and I have been called various terms of endearment by waiters, waitresses, or retail workers. We are 58 and 59 and while we don’t look 40, neither of us looks a lot older than our ages. It feels like all of the sudden, people are treating us like we’re their grandparents, and it bugs me. It feels very patronizing.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how do you handle it? So far I’ve ignored it except for at one restaurant where we are regulars and know the manager. I would love some suggestions on a witty response that wouldn’t be too rude but would get the point across.
If being referred to as "honey" or "sweetie" is bugging you now, just wait 'til you're offered a senior discount without even having to ask for it!
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:43 AM   #10
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I (60) grew up in the South and DW (58) in the upper Midwest. We now live in the South and neither of us mind it a bit. We both rather enjoy it and think it's kind of endearing. Our Millennials (who still live in the upper Midwest) hate it. That's another reason we like it!
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:46 AM   #11
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a young man called me "sir"..
I'm often called 'sir', but I just realized the speakers are mispronouncing 'cur'.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:47 AM   #12
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If being referred to as "honey" or "sweetie" is bugging you now, just wait 'til you're offered a senior discount without even having to ask for it!
In the Deep South and parts of Florida it’s Southern charm at its best. We may not be as progressive as the liberal states up North or out West but we do have our manners and courtesy for the most part.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:48 AM   #13
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Living in MD and WV, sort of halfway between north and south, we hear it sometimes but not frequently. As W2R notes, it's just a courtesy in some places and it doesn't bother me a bit.

When we venture to southern WV or southern (way south) VA we've noticed that the frequency increases. No big deal.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:50 AM   #14
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I'm meeting with a contractor later today, and both times that I've talked to his receptionist on the phone she's called me "hon". It's a little jarring. She doesn't have a southern accent, and it's not common around here, so I assume she just picked up the habit somewhere and does it to everyone.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:51 AM   #15
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I don't particularly care for it. I think women hear it more often than men, even though those using it are also more often women. It might be meant totally innocently but it comes off a little familiar and condescending for my taste. I do bristle if a man uses it though, but again don't outwardly react (except to extricate myself from that business quicker than I would otherwise).

Kind of like when someone you meet immediately uses a derivative or short version of your name. Like, if I introduced myself as Katherine, and they called me Katie right away, I'd be bent out of shape.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:53 AM   #16
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I just moved from Cali to Oregon last month and have been called babe and sweetie. It caught me off guard but didn't offend me.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:56 AM   #17
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Happens all the time where we live, it is absolutely harmless. I even do it now after so many years of getting used to it. I use the term "Sweetheart" myself, with my British accent it usually solicits a broad smile and sometimes a giggle from the recipient, they sometimes hit back with a big smile and a "Hon" when the opportunity arises. I do not do it to any particular age group, I am an equal opportunity "Sweetheart'er".

The only people who probably would not like it (I would think) are those with some type of a chip, along with LGBT types. But they are usually so obvious, that one would not address them that way anyway, at least I would not.

I think it is a breath of fresh air actually and very friendly. I find it very pleasant.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:57 AM   #18
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A soft answer turneth away wrath.

Anytime a waitress wants to call me "honey", I interpret it as normal courtesy.

Even if I thought the over-familiarity to be unwarranted, before responding I would consider the risk involved in chastising someone who is about to handle my food.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:59 AM   #19
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Recently DH and I have been called various terms of endearment by waiters, waitresses, or retail workers. We are 58 and 59 and while we don’t look 40, neither of us looks a lot older than our ages. It feels like all of the sudden, people are treating us like we’re their grandparents, and it bugs me. It feels very patronizing.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how do you handle it? So far I’ve ignored it except for at one restaurant where we are regulars and know the manager. I would love some suggestions on a witty response that wouldn’t be too rude but would get the point across.
I doubt the ‘waiters, waitresses or retail workers’ mean anything at all by it, in fact I’d guess it’s just what they call others or they’re intent is just to be friendly. When it happens to DW or me, we don’t assume it means anything worth making a “point.” Are these people you expect to see often or even again?

I doubt there’s anything “witty” you could say that wouldn’t be taken as rude, and do you really want to piss off the people handling your food? Ever worked in a restaurant?
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:00 PM   #20
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Now at 60 the waitresses have stopped calling me Mr. Beefcake and started with the StudMuffin.
Very disconcerting....
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